COLUMBUS, Ohio -- With the Blue Jackets putting No. 3 goalie Anton Forsberg on the ice tonight against the Sabres, it was time to study who opponents have used in the crease against Buffalo this year because it sure seemed like quite a run of backups, or backups to the backups vs. the Blue and Gold.
The feeling proved right.
This is going to be eight times in 10 games the Sabres have played a backup -- or No. 3 man. And it's guaranteed to become 9 out of 11 Thursday night, since Vancouver is either playing Eddie Lack or Jacob Markstrom in the wake of Ryan Miller's injury.
For sake of this argument, I'm counting the two recent games against Philadelphia's Ray Emery as a game against a backup since Steve Mason is the Flyers' clear starter and was only out due to injury. I'm counting the Jan. 15 loss to Minnesota as a game against a starter, even though it was Devin Dubnyk's Wild debut. That's because he's clearly taken over as the No. 1 guy.
According to my calculations, the Sabres are just 6-25-2 against starting goalies this season, and just four of the wins are in regulation. All six were by one goal. The list:
Oct. 14 at Carolina, 4-3 (SO) -- vs. Cam Ward
Nov. 2 vs. Detroit, 3-2 (SO) -- vs. Jimmy Howard
Nov. 22 at Washington, 2-1 -- vs. Braden Holtby
Nov. 28 vs. Montreal, 2-1 -- vs. Carey Price
Dec. 9 vs. Los Angeles, 1-0 -- vs. Jonathan Quick
Feb. 3 at Montreal, 3-2 -- vs. Carey Price
That would thus leave the Sabres as 11-13-3 vs. No. 2 or No. 3 goalies. Tonight's game will actually be Buffalo's fifth game of the year vs. a No. 3. The Sabres beat San Jose's Troy Grosenick on Nov. 16, beat the Islanders' Kevin Poulin in a shootout on Dec. 27, lost to Detroit's Tom McCollum on Jan. 18 and lost to the Rangers' MacKenzie Skapski on Friday night.
How about some more Sabres-Jackets numbers:
One goal games: BUF 15-10-5, CBJ 15-7-4
Decided by 2 goals or more: BUF 2-28-0 (!!), CBJ 11-21
Scoring first: BUF 14-10-2, CBJ 20-7-1
Opponent scoring first: BUF 3-28-3, CBJ 6-21-3
Leading after first period: BUF 7-4-0, CBJ 13-3-1
Trailing after first period: BUF 2-23-2, CBJ 3-16-2
Leading after 2nd period: BUF 8-1-2, CBJ 11-2-2
Trailing after 2nd period: BUF 1-28-1, CBJ 1-21-1 (double ouch)
Tied after 2 periods: BUF 8-9-2, CBJ 14-5-1
OT/SO record: BUF 8-5, CBJ 7-4
SO record: BUF 7-3, CBJ 4-2